I probably have the nicest clients in the world. Whenever I call to check on them or give them updates or whatever, they always ask how I’m doing. I thought I would give a little World According to Kevin, Update.
Ed Slott IRA Bootcamp
I went to the Ed Slott IRA Bootcamp in February of 2020 in San Francisco. I had originally been scheduled to go to the one in Las Vegas, NV in 2019, but my flight got cancelled because of snow. I was literally packing to go to the airport when I received a text saying my flight had been cancelled. Whoever heard of a flight to Las Vegas, NV being cancelled because of snow? Uh… nobody!
Anyway, I went to the event in San Francisco. When I first arrived at the hotel, I was starving so I went to the little gift shop to get some food. I bought a hot dog and a 20 oz. bottle of Coke. It cost $15.00. Toto, we’re not in Albuquerque anymore! The conference was really great, I learned a lot, met some nice people and came back to Albuquerque. The next weekend my friends and I went to Las Vegas (No Snow) for our annual Mountain West Basketball Tournament trip. At that time, we had heard some rumbling about the virus, but it didn’t seem like that big of a deal, so we went to Vegas. Again, everything was cool, we had fun, Vegas was its usual crazy, crowded self and we came home.
The next week, the NCAA cancelled the other conference tournaments and the whole world got turned upside down.
In case you didn’t know, I’m somewhat of an extrovert. I gain energy being around people, up to a point. I’m an early riser and spend a good bit of time alone in the morning. I meditate, drink my coffee and read as much stuff as I can before I have to go to the office. When we got put on lockdown, it was a shock to me. I was used to doing my routine in the morning, then go to the office and start seeing people. Every year I spend quite a bit of money taking people out for coffee, breakfast, lunch, beer, whatever. I go see clients at their office. They come to my office. But I’m always talking on the phone and seeing my clients. Then on the weekends, I spend hours riding my bike with my friends. My parents never seemed to have too many friends and I always told myself I wasn’t going to be like that when I got old. I have worked very hard over the years developing relationships with friends and clients. The virus brought all of that to a halt.
I remember one afternoon I was walking with Jenny and she said she kind of liked our new arrangement. I was home most of the day, we ate lunch at the house, we would take the dog for a walk, etc. I said, are you kidding? This is terrible. I don’t get to see anybody. I can’t go anywhere. This sucks! You might have guessed, my lovely wife is an introvert. She likes people, but being around a bunch of people drains her energy. This new normal was introvert heaven.
What Do You Do Now?
When change happens there are basically two things you can do. Cry or adapt. When I was in the hospital and recovering from my accident, people always said they were so impressed with my positive attitude and ability to adjust to my new situation. I always said, what’s my choice? I can sit here and cry about how terrible it was that I fell or I could go do the work so I could get back on my bike. I pretty much chose to do the same thing with my new normal. Here are a few things I started doing after the lockdown started.
I Started Using Zoom. I had never really used Zoom in the past. Every meeting I had was in person and every bike ride was either outside or at Big Al’s Cycling Lab where we would do indoor workouts on our bikes and then go out afterwards and drink a beer. The first rides I did coming back from my accident were at the YMCA on a stationary bike and at Big Al’s.
After the lockdown, my buddy, Ben Welch let me use an extra trainer and we started doing indoor workouts at our house using Zwift and Zoom. We would even have Zoom happy hour with some of our cycling buddies. Now I ride inside my house on a trainer 5 days a week. I’ve lost 8 pounds, my resting pulse rate is 48 bpm and I’m actually stronger on the bike than I was before my accident. People always ask how my leg is feeling. It’s as good as it is going to get. My toes are always numb and I have numb spots up on my leg where I got cut open, but other than that, for a 57 year old guy with a stainless steel femur held together with 4 screws and some bailing wire, I think I’m doing pretty good!
I started to study Spanish. I always wanted to be able to speak a foreign language. When I was in high school, you had to take a couple of classes of a foreign language, so I took Spanish. In college, I took a semester of German. All that did was cause me to think sentences like, Ich will ein cerveza su trinken. Not very fluid or helpful, I admit.
When we started the lockdown in March, I thought it would be a good time to try to learn Spanish, so I signed up for Babbel. After that, I tried a program called Fluencia. One day, I was watching YouTube and saw a video of a guy in New York who is fluent in Chinese. He was also learning Spanish and suggested the best way to learn Spanish other than immersion, was to use a company called Baselang. I started that in mid- September. Since then, I take an hour Spanish lesson every day of the week speaking to various teachers who live in South America. We use Zoom and have conversations or go over actual lessons. I’m not fluent yet, but at this point I can carry on a conversation with someone in Spanish for an hour.
I had to make adjustments in my business. Even though I own my own financial planning practice, in reality I am employed by my clients. Without them, I and my family have nothing. When there is a global pandemic and you’re told to not leave your house except to go to the grocery store, you have no choice but to adjust.
Luckily with the tools that are available today like Zoom, email, cell phones, laptops, etc., it is much easier to keep in contact with people than it would have been in the past. I still see a few people in person, but the majority of my “meetings” are done over the phone and Zoom. I use email a lot and my assistant has people sign documents using Docusign.
A lot of stuff that I read says this way of doing business, work from home, Zoom meetings, etc. is the way of the future. I much prefer meeting people in person versus meeting via the internet. Hopefully with the vaccine and other measures that have been put in place, we can get back to normal very soon.
This has been a very strange time in our lives. Nobody predicted 2020 was going to turn out the way it did. Who would have predicted a global pandemic that killed millions of people around the world and shut down the world economy? Did you know there was a ceremony at the Capitol after a presidential election where they certified the electors? Did you ever think we would see a day where our fellow citizens stormed the Capitol building trying to overturn an election? I sure didn’t!
One of the great things about getting older is you have the benefit of experience. Right after the market had the sharp drop in March, several clients called asking what we should do. After having experienced Black Monday, the dot com crash, the Great Recession and now, the Covid crash, the worst thing to do is to sell into a panic. This too shall pass.
I hope this New Year brings you peace and prosperity. Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to talk. As always, thanks for reading! KB